FENN, Albert

No. 12164, Lance Corporal, Albert James FENN
Aged 19

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday 26th September, 1917

Born in Exning in Q1-1898 (Newmarket 3b:525), the third son of William Alfred Leonard and Annie FENN (née MUSK) of King's Yard, Exning.

There was an earlier Albert, Albert Edward, born in 1894 who sadly died less than a year later.

1901 census...At King's Yard, Exning were Albert [3], his father William [31] builders labourer, his mother Annie [29], and his brothers Leonard [7], and Alec [9 months] and his sister Annie [4]. Whole family were Exning born.

1911 census...At Oxford Street were Albert[13] a farm labourer, his parents, brother Leonard[17] a labourer, Alec Redvers [10], Cecil Bertie [8], Percy Charles [6] and Stanley George [5]. Sister Annie was a servant in Burwell. There were 9 children but two had died before this census.

The pension card for Albert and Leonard has their mother at King's Yard, Exning.

Albert was a younger brother of Leonard FENN ,(killed on 8th November 1914)

Albert's entry in "Our Exning Heroes" reads as follows:
Fenn, A.   7th Suffolks
Albert Fenn, a younger brother of Leonard, was one of the first to join up at the commencement of the war, although, at the time, he was only 16 years old. A year later, in August, 1915, he went to France, and after six weeks out there he was wounded in the chest and sent home to England. In June,1916, he went out again, and three months later was killed in action near Lens. His 2nd Lieutenant writes of him:
"It is with the deepest regret I write to you of the death of your brave son during the attack on September 26th. From the commencement to the finish of the attack he was to the front, and was one of the first to reach the final objective, and came forward with me to fill a part of the line that had been left undefended, and whilst consolidating was shot by a sniper. We buried him and out a cross over his grave which is in a churchyard, and now quite peaceful as the line is right past there. He has now joined the band of heroes who have given their all for the King, Home and Right".
Before joining up he worked for Mr. W.P.King.

On 26th September 1917the 2nd and 5th Armies attacked on a front of about six miles between St Julien and Tower Hamlets, the 2nd Suffolks taking part in the advance of Vth Corps towards Zonnebeke. The attack was timed for 5:30 am, the battalion having moved forward into position 4 or 5 hours previously.
At zero hour the companies moved forward in a thick mist which prevented visual communications. They occupied a frontage of 400 yards, which, owing to the introduction of the pill box system and other developments in the German method of defence, was greater than had been the practice. They started off in support of the 8th King's Own but received orders to pass through them to the first objective.
The attack was very successful, all objectives being secured and the line carried forward about a mile. To the 2nd Battalion fell the honour of capturing the village of Zonnebeke. In the evening a strong counter-attack against the left brigade forced the line back on that flank, leaving it somewhat exposed.
Of the 37 of the battalion killed, only 10 have identified graves, (one of these was a local lad, James Bassett from Moulton),the rest are named on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

No Known Grave
Albert is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium Ref: panels 40-41 162-162a

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details